I had a “near death experience” during a surgery I had many years ago. I had elected to have a surgical procedure under “local anesthetic”. That was a mistake because the anesthetic was insufficient to alleviate my pain, but it was sufficient to make it impossible for me to speak. I endured a lot of pain and inside my head I was screaming, but outwardly I was not making a sound. Suddenly all the pain went away and I realized I was not breathing and I remember calling out to God saying “God I am dying!” Then an immense peace came over me and I felt my spirit leave my body like a fast wind that escaped my physical being. I saw my body still on the operating table and I felt like my spirit rushed up to the ceiling of the operating room, when I heard a voice say “Send her back.” Then I was back, back in my body and I heard the surgeon say, “Give her oxygen.” That’s all I remember. It seemed that all of this occurred very quickly in fleeting moments, but I am not certain of that. I do recall feeling that the voice was an angel guarding the ascent into heaven. It was not yet my time; I would continue to live.
This experience occurred almost twenty years ago. Since then I feel Jesus has helped to understand what He meant when He spoke of being born again.
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. ”
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3: 3-7
I feel that being born again is not a one-time experience, it is a spiritual journey that allows us to be transformed gradually and persistently as we consent to God’s will. The transformation changes everything. It changes how we see the world and one another. It changes what we choose to look at. It changes the experiences we pursue and those that we forgo. It changes our life priorities, our definition of success, of beauty, of what constitutes true wealth.
I remember as a young woman feeling like men were disrobing me with their eyes. Eyes that look lustfully are eyes that have not yet been reborn of the Spirit. Eyes reborn of God’s Spirit see the heart, not the flesh. The Spirit gives life to new words and new choices. The words and the choices are shaped by the Spirit the way a sculptor fashions His masterpiece, one moment at a time, with precision and with patience.
I feel God’s presence in my life in a way I never did when I was younger and more foolish. He waited for me and now I wait for Him. I have learned to trust Jesus, to invest time in studying His Holy Word through the Scriptures and I am focused on seeking His will and His glory in all the things that I do. He gave me a chance to live. I didn’t die for a reason. You live for a reason, but the sad reality is we may never uncover His true plan for us unless we allow our focus on self to die.
This happened for me as I began to discover the love of my crucified Saviour. My beloved God, You suffered so much for all of us, I want to please You and live in accordance with Your will today and always. I love You God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You are my heart’s desire Lord Jesus. Pleasing You is my life’s mission. Help me to be all that You want me to be!